While Windows Phone is undoubtedly poised for an uphill struggle in the mobile platform wars, the Nokia Lumia 900 paints a promising picture for the both the Finnish manufacturer and Microsoft's fledgling OS. Not only is it the best Windows phone in the market today, it's also one of the best smartphone options currently in the market.
Physically, it's a gorgeous piece of design engineering. The style is original and eye-catching, setting itself apart from the iPhone-like devices currently littering store shelves. It's quite big and heavy like many new high-end smartphones, with solid construction that really feels sturdy and reliable. Display is a gorgeous 4.3-inch AMOLED (800 x 480 resolution) with ClearBlack tech and protective Gorilla Glass. Suffice to say, this combination makes for one of the best smartphone screens I've seen -- and easily the best among current Windows Phone handsets.
As a phone, the Nokia Lumia 900 makes for good calls. Audio quality didn't sound the best, but it was loud and clear enough. Those on the other end reported a very natural sounding voice. Battery is rated at 7 hours of talk time.
All the standard features you could want on a modern smartphone are onboard: full wireless connectivity (LTE, WiFi, GPS, Bluetooth), robust messaging and a bunch of preloaded software. Video playback is zippy, although it obviously don't have the same chops as those dual-core machines in the market today (Windows Phone is yet to support multi-core devices). It comes with two cameras: a 1.3 megapixel unit in front and an 8.0 megapixel in the rear. The latter is particularly noteworthy, having come with dual LED flash units and Carl Zeiss lens. Performance is impressive, especially for outdoor shots. Indoors, it's on par with the iPhone 4S camera -- in fact, I'd probably take it over the iOS flagship in terms of indoor photos alone. There is a noticeable shutter lag, though.
Since Microsoft is keeping Windows Phone OS 7.5 as a closed platform, it's as good as stock in this device. All the features are this onboard, from the web search integration to various enterprise capabilities to native Office support to Xbox Live integration. The Office integration, especially OneNote, is a particular high point, especially since no other platform offers it this seamlessly. And it works great, with the hardware providing all the muscle necessary to bleed the OS for everything it can deliver. As has been the issue with Windows Phone so far, though, there remains a dearth of good third-party software beyond the basics, but that's something Microsoft will need to figure out going forward.
Overall, the Nokia Lumia 900 is an attractive device, both in appearance and in features. If you don't mind lacking the ready availability of hundreds of thousands of third-party apps (many of which are, let's face it, pointless), it's probably one of the best purchases available, especially at the $99.99 price on a two-year agreement with AT&T.